The Life Changing Art of Sivananda Yoga

‘Evenness of mind is called yoga, balanced in success and failure.’

All my life I have been a terrible insomniac, even as a baby. Sleep just never came easy, or it never came at all. I tried all sorts to tackle this, then my Dad introduced me to a woman he knew who taught evening yoga classes not far from home. I began going to Haeley’s classes back in 2012 and while it didn’t help me sleep it did introduce me to something incredible. I fell completely in love with yoga and when Haeley stopped her Tuesday night classes I still met with her regularly for a cup of tea and a chat about yoga, spirituality, body image, cats… everything you can imagine. I saw her as more than a friend, she was a role model, a mentor. She gave me her teacher training manual from when she had completed her yogic studies in an Ashram. She wrote up a routine for me and I’ve been practicing it ever since, adding things and changing things up as my strength and flexibility increases. In 2014 I moved from my little hometown by the sea to somewhere closer to London, with university and work taking up so much of my time I began to practice less and less. This year I’ve hardly practiced at all, with work, university, several toxic people sucking my energy and my anxiety becoming an overwhelming and consuming part of my life I’ve struggled to find the motivation. I soon realised that with all this happening, this is the time I need yoga the most, so the last couple of months I’ve gotten back into it and man, it feels good.

It feels amazing to stretch out my body, to build up my strength again. I feel taller, longer, my abs feel tight but the rest of my body feels loose and fluid. I feel so at one with myself I feel almost separate from my body. Like I’m energy, and nothing else. It’s a liberating feeling. I love to see the progress, even within a single session, there is such a difference from what you can achieve at first and what you can achieve after 10 minutes. The most important thing for me though, is how I feel mentally. I feel so at peace after practicing yoga, calm and content.

I practice in front of a mirror, to keep an eye on my form and I do it naked. It helps me appreciate my body, seeing it in all sorts of unflattering twists just makes me love it more. It allows me to really get to know my physical self. When I was a teenager, for maybe 2 or 3 years I didn’t look at myself naked. I would put a towel in front of the mirror when I showered in case I caught a glimpse of myself. I hated my body. I’ve changed a lot since then, I’m far more accepting of myself. I’m beginning to understand more about the connection between my soul, or my energy and my physical being. Practicing yoga is a personal, intimate thing, by doing it naked and watching yourself makes it even more so. I love it.

This is just a short post because I’ve just finished my evening routine and I am glowing. I wanted to share how I felt. In the future, I will write about the philosophy of yoga. I won’t share my routine or any suggested routines as I’m not a teacher, I don’t want to cause anyone to harm themselves but I implore you all to go to a yoga class, they’re everywhere nowadays. Go just once, see how it makes you feel. Or try a gentle routine at home. It will open you up. It will be beautiful.

 

‘The aim of all yoga practice is to achieve truth.’

 

-Quiet Waters

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